Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hallway of Awkwardness

My office has a reception desk in the lobby where one would check in and then a waiting area to wait in after checking in. It’s really nice and comfortable. Then there is a very long hallway, perhaps 50 feet long by 8 or 10 feet wide. There are openings along the hallway which lead to other hallways or conference rooms. At the end of the main hallway are two double doors, one of which is kept open during business hours. What’s behind those two doors is referred to as “Executive Offices.” The first desk, a reception type desk, is my desk.

That hallway sucks. Whenever I leave my desk to go use the restroom or go the mailroom or go pick up someone in the lobby, I will undoubtedly have to walk by a co-worker in this hallway of awkwardness. The hallway is so long that you cannot just smile and say, “Hi. How are you? I’m good thanks.” No. There is so much more time left before you either pass each other or turn out of the hallway to go your separate ways. What do you do with that time? Shift your eyes away? Pretend to look through whatever documents are in your hands? Continue keeping eye contact, potentially making your co-worker uncomfortable?

If we ever move into a new office building, one that I assume we will design or have a hand in designing, I am going to recommend not doing that. I will instead recommend hallways that zig zag back and forth. Who cares if it takes up more room and is less efficient? It will be the least uncomfortable for the employees who must walk the hallway every day. And after all, isn’t that the most important thing?